US microreactor company sets up HALEU subsidiary

20 February 2023

Days after raising USD4.14 million towards research and development of its ZEUS portable advanced nuclear microreactor, NANO Nuclear Energy Inc has formed a subsidiary to develop, improve, and accelerate domestic US production of high-assay low enriched uranium (HALEU).

The ZEUS microreactor is designed to fit inside a standard shipping container (Image: NANO Nuclear Energy)

HALEU Energy Fuel Inc. "will focus on the future development of a domestic HALEU fuel fabrication pipeline for the broader advanced nuclear reactor industry, a national laboratory fuel supply, and providing fabricated fuels for research purposes" as well as playing a crucial role in powering the ZEUS reactor, the company said.

NANO Nuclear Energy CEO James Walker said the company had come to understand the "unique importance" of HALEU fuel in the development and propagation of advanced nuclear reactors both for the company and for national nuclear technology development. "As such, we saw the opportunity to create a domestic fuel producer and distributor, and at the same time become a truly vertically integrated nuclear energy company," he said.

New York-based NANO says it is "looking to disrupt the SMR space" by "building smaller, cheaper, and safer nuclear energy". The ZEUS portable microreactor, currently in development, features a fully solid core, removing heat through thermal conduction without the need for coolant and pumps. It is designed to fit inside a standard ISO shipping container, taking advantage of existing transportation infrastructure, and the modular reactor will be able to connect with local power grids or power systems, the company says. The company said that "former senior freight and logistics executives" were the leading investors in the oversubscribed USD4.14 million funding round which closed on 13 February.

NANO was set up by entrepreneur Jay Jiang Yu who became the company's first chairman and president in April 2022. "When I was first inspired to form NANO Nuclear, I could not envision the momentum that we have witnessed in this past year," he said. "Now, we are on our way to becoming a truly vertically-integrated company."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News